Career after college???

Among all the possible careers I could pursue after I graduate, I have my eye on law enforcement. More specifically, something in the federal realm (ICE, FBI, NSA, NCIS, Secret Service, US Marshals or the CIA). I have family in one of these agencies and I will be in discussion with him about the agency he works for, but I haven’t decided which one I would prefer more. I’ve downloaded the NSA careers app for iPhone. I’m going for a BA in accounting. I know that a lot of the agencies do use accounting majors in their actual field, but some do not require a certain degree as long as its a 4 year degree. Fraud and white collar crimes are pretty high on my list of what I want to deal with. Any input is greatly appreciated!!!!

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6 comments on “Career after college???

  1. I’m an internal fraud investigator! These kinds of jobs are kind of hard to get into, 800 people applied for my position. A lot of times, you will have a cop who has been on patrol for a long time then wants to go into the private sector and they end up in a job like mine. You should look into “Forensic Accounting” for a big accounting firm. It is basically financial statement fraud investigation – where did the fraud happen? And focus on your GPA – it needs to be high. Also try to find something to do at school, maybe an honor committee or something like that so you can talk about it in your interview. See if your neighborhood or community has a citizens on patrol or something. Work for a program at school which offers security or safety escorts or a sober ride home for fellow students. If you have related experience, even if it’s volunteer work, it will put your resume above others. There’s also a program called a Certified Fraud Examinier (CFE) that you can get but you have to have so many credits from school or experience or what ever, so you may have to wait until you have your degree. You could also apply for security type jobs at a department store, home depot, target, etc. Hope this helps!

    • Awesome! See that’s exactly the type of comments I was looking for. I am really wanting to go federal though. But I will take your advice! Thanks April! You work for Sprint right?

  2. Yes, Sprint! Go federal, it would be fun, but I was recommending the last stuff as something to do while you are in school, even the security type jobs. But if you can’t get on with the government right out of college, there are some good private sector jobs that will pave the way for an investigative career with the government later down the line. I learned when I graduated from college that the most important thing I had and what put me above other candidates was the experience that I could talk about during my interviews. If you have two candidates with identical degrees and gpa’s, but one person has been a security guard or something, and the other person was a server at Chili’s, it’s easy to guess which one they will be more likely to hire.

    • Gotcha! Well I’ve been looking into internships with the different agencies. For the most part the deadlines have already passed, except for Tx DPS. Which I know a local trooper and my criminal justice professor is writing a letter for me to send in with my application for this summer. I knew that this would look great on resume and hopefully lead to me being at the top of the pile, so to speak.

  3. Corey,
    Federal Law Enforcement can be a very rewarding, challenging, and enjoyable career. However, being a law enforcement officer at any level of government, be it local, county, state, or federal requires an immense committment from not only you, but your loved ones as well. There will be birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgivings, and Christmases that will be missed because of your work. Law Enforcement spouses carry a very heavy burden, and you and your bride should both discuss candidly the realities of such a “career” choice sooner rather than later.

    Being a cop isn’t a job or career, really, it’s a lifestyle that you live 24/7/365. There was a line on the show “SouthLand” that said it best when one veteran officer said to the rookie officer he was training, “You’re a cop because you don’t know how not to be one. If you feel that way, you’re a cop. If you don’t, you’re not.” This line of work, to me, is somewhat parallel to entering the ministry, it’s basically a calling.

    There are good days and bad days, fun places to work, and not so fun places to work, good bosses, and bad bosses, but overall, it is a great career, and can be a lot of fun, too.

    As far as types of college degrees go, a business background is fine, but not essential, except for some very specialized enforcement activities (think IRS Criminal Investigations). Any degree will suffice, because it shows that you are trainable and have the ability to see things through to a successful conclusion. In my previous agency, I worked with a girl that had an art history degree, and another guy that did not have a college degree, but was a drummer in a rock band before becoming a cop – both people had equal opportunities for overall success.

    From my experience, the two most important qualities an aspiring law enforcement officer can have are communication skills, both written and oral, and people skills: the ability to relate to people in various situations, and the ability to feel compassion for others, both victims and violators. These skill sets are applicable no matter what the agency or level of government. You may be talking to someone with a 6th grade education one minute, and then a well-educated judge or prosecutor the next, and you have to be able to communicate effectively with both.

    As far as agencies go, that depends on you, and more importantly, who is hiring! Some agencies require much more travel than other agencies (USSS). Some agencies require you to move no matter what (FBI, USSS, for example). Also, you may be more enthusiastic about the jurisdictions of some agencies moreso than others, for example, say the differences in the day to day duties of special agents of the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General as compared to the DEA. You can probably guess that a DEA agent will work a lot more nights and weekends compared to an SSA-OIG special agent.

    I will say this: ICE Special Agents possess the broadest investigative authorities and investigate the most varied of criminal and administrative violations against the United States. ICE Special Agents have the statutory authority to conduct a vast array of investigations and utilize certain investigative methods and strategies that other agencies wish they had.

    My advice for you at this point in time would be to work with your college or university’s student services officials who handle internships and interviews with potential employers. There may be alumni registered with the alumni association that work for these agencies in which you are interested that would welcome the opportunity to discuss their impressions of their day to day work life. Also, you may have the opportunity to win an internship at an agency for which you want to work – a definate advantage if you want to later work for that agency. At a minimum, the student services department may be able to help you get an “information interview” with someone from the agency in which you are interested.

    Good luck, and feel free to hit me up with any more questions that you may have now that I have raised some of the points I did above.

  4. Wow Wes! That was so much! Thank you! That’s was almost everything I was wanting know as for the basics! I can’t tell you how floored I was when I saw how much you wrote! Thank you! Amber and I have talked about it and she is prepared for what every that life brings. We knows it won’t always be easy. I knew before she told me, but I’ve always wanted to be in some form of law enforcement. I dream about it. I read about it. I watch it. I did a couple research paper (in highschool) over the FBI. So I know it’s for me. Give me a few days to get back to you. I have a couple of days of studying ahead. But quick question. Internships? Is it too late for this summer? Or do you think I would be possible for me to internship with you? Even if it’s for a week or so.

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